or indirectly to the contest in which we are engaged should be relieved as far as possible from the suffering incident thereto. I do not approve the arrest of persons without other cause than that they are found within the lines of one army or the other. I have released all the prisoners in this department from the walks of civil life except where held for the commission of crime independent of all political considerations, or where their release would imperil public peace, and I shall gladly co-operate with General Taylor as far as possible in relieving from the horrors of war those who are not in any sense to be considered participants therein.
I have the honor to be, with high respect your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, December 21, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th, relating to an exchange of prisoners. There are now here 430 non-commissioned officers and privates who will be sent down to you forthwith. There are also at Tyler, Tex., a number of officers captured by your command who will be sent to you if you desire it. It would be desirable to make such arrangements as would enable us to exchange Allen's brigade, as great difficulty is experienced in reassembling it while they remain in parole. This might be done by arranging to furnish rolls of our men as fast as they report, and authorize the enemy to release a like number. It is probable that this brigade could be put in service in a short time by this arrangement. No arrangements can be made to include General Magruder's command until he is heard from. I will write to him immediately.
I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,
W. R. BOGGS,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Vicksburg, December 22, 1863.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward herewith a communication from Lieutenant Colonel N. G. Watts, agent for exchange of prisoner, with a copy of my answer to the same.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
[Inclosure No. 1.]
HEADQUARTERS EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS, Jackson, Miss., December 16, 1863.
Major General J. B. McPHERESON, U. S. Army,
GENERAL: Since my letter of October 24 ultimo my Government deems it more convenient for the object of my mission to change my